Readers’ Advisory Fundamentals
Course Instructor: Francisca Goldsmith
Tue Feb 8, 2011 – Mon, Mar 7, 2011
Fee: $75 for those in the California library community and Infopeople Partners, $150 for all others.
(An Infopeople Online Learning Course)
Seeking suggestions for a satisfying book to read continues to be one of the most popular reasons why adults turn to their community libraries. They expect library staff to be able to make not just good but great suggestions. As library staff we expect it of ourselves as well. Providing library-based readers’ advisory service, however, isn’t the same thing as recommending a good book to a friend or family member. Formal readers’ advisory work requires that we develop and use a suite of skills and tools to ensure that the individual reader’s interests and abilities are considered as suggestions are made.
- Do you find yourself asking a user with a readers’ advisory question to talk to another staff member?
- Are you uncertain how to respond to someone whose reading tastes and interests are different from your own?
- Are you able to apply what you know about reference interviewing to the question, “Can you help me find a good book to read”?
By learning and practicing the fundamentals of readers’ advisory work, you will strengthen your capacity and confidence in responding to your community’s pleasure readers and help them to recognize reading advice as a value-added library service.
Course Description: This four-week online course will familiarize you with reading trends and tastes, and tools to develop and improve your ability and assurance in offering advice to pleasure readers. Through readings, assignments, and discussions you will explore both current information about and behavioral techniques for advising adult readers. There will be opportunities to practice these advising tactics with your fellow learners. You will maintain a reading log that can be continued long after the course is completed, and these reading logs can be shared during an online meeting. The instructor will provide resources, best practices, and useful tips and techniques that can be applied immediately.
Note: This course introduces the fundamentals of readers’ advisory work with adults. Other Infopeople online courses provide instruction on readers’ advisory work with children and teens. There will be an advanced readers’ advisory course in 2011 for those who want to take their skills beyond book suggestions to multi-format advising.
Preliminary Course Outline: Using your web browser and your Internet connection, you will log in to the Infopeople online learning site and complete the following learning modules:
- Week 1: Readers’ Advisory Basics: What and Why
- The readers’ advisory interview
- Appeal factor theory
- Contemporary U.S. reading interests—who is reading what and why
- Week 2: Readers’ Advisory Venues: Off-line and Online
- Programs, displays, and other in-library finding tools
- Building a library readers’ advisory website portal
- Measuring community satisfaction with your reading advice
- Week 3: Readers’ Advisory Tools to Know and Maintain
- Professional print readers’ advisory tools
- Online readers’ advisory tools
- Re-purposing reviews as readers’ advisory help
- Week 4: Developing a Readers’ Advisory Plan for Your Library and Community
- Book clubs, reading initiatives, and other group approaches to readers’ advisory work
- The library as facilitator for user-created content
- Developing a formal plan of readers’ advisory service
Time required: To complete this course, you can expect to spend two hours per week, for a total of eight course hours. Each week's module contains readings, various assignments―including several optional ones―and discussions. You can choose the options most relevant to your work and interests. Although you can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or night, it is recommended that you complete each week’s work within that week to stay in sync with other learners.
Who Should Take This Course: Anyone from the library community with an interest in books and reading, especially those staff who must respond to adults in search of reading advice. This is a basic course, introducing fundamentals to those who may be new to readers’ advisory work or those who are seeking to update their skills with new readers’ advisory tools.
Online Learning Details and System Requirements may be found at
Course Start: This 4-week-long online learning course starts on Tuesday, February 8, 2011.
After the official end date for the course, the instructor will be available for limited consultation and support for two more weeks, and the course material will stay up for an additional two weeks after that. These extra weeks give those who have fallen behind time to work independently to complete the course.